Endomorphin 1 (EM-1) and endomorphin 2 (EM-2) were tested for their capacity to alter immune function. Addition of either of these peptides to murine spleen cells in vitro inhibited antibody formation to sheep red blood cells in a bi-phasic dose dependent manner. Maximal inhibition was achieved at doses in the range of 10−13 to 10−15 M. Neither naloxone (general opioid receptor antagonist) nor CTAP (selective mu opioid receptor antagonist) blocked the immunosuppressive effect. To show that there was specificity to the immunosuppressive activity of the peptides, affinity purified rabbit antibodies were raised against each of the synthetic EM peptides haptenized to KLH and tested for capacity to inhibit immunosuppression. Antibody responses were monitored by a standard solid phase antibody capture ELISA assay, and antibodies were purified by immunochromatography using the synthetic peptides coupled to a Sepharose 6B resin. Verification of the specificity of affinity-purified antisera was performed by immunodot-blot and solid-phase RIA assays. The antisera specific for both EM-1 and EM-2 neutralized the immunosuppressive effects of their respective peptides in a dose-related manner. Control normal rabbit IgG had no blocking activity on either EM-1 or EM-2. These studies show that the endomorphins are immunomodulatory at ultra-low concentrations, but the data do not support a mechanism involving the mu opioid receptor.
The current study examined how a randomized one-year aerobic exercise program for healthy older adults would affect serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) - putative markers of exercise-induced benefits on brain function. The study also examined whether (a) change in the concentration of these growth factors was associated with alterations in functional connectivity following exercise, and (b) the extent to which pre-intervention growth factor levels were associated with training-related changes in functional connectivity. In 65 participants (mean age = 66.4), we found that although there were no group-level changes in growth factors as a function of the intervention, increased temporal lobe connectivity between the bilateral parahippocampus and the bilateral middle temporal gyrus was associated with increased BDNF, IGF-1, and VEGF for an aerobic walking group but not for a non-aerobic control group, and greater pre-intervention VEGF was associated with greater training-related increases in this functional connection. Results are consistent with animal models of exercise and the brain, but are the first to show in humans that exercise-induced increases in temporal lobe functional connectivity are associated with changes in growth factors and may be augmented by greater baseline VEGF.
exercise; aging; functional connectivity; fMRI; default mode network; aerobic fitness; growth factors
Previous findings have linked lower socioeconomic status (SES) with elevated morbidity and mortality. Leukocyte telomere length (LTL), which also has been associated with age-related disease morbidity and mortality, is a marker of aging at the cellular level, making it a valuable early biomarker of risk and an indicator of biological age. It is hypothesized that SES will be associated with LTL, indicating that SES influences disease risk by accelerating biological aging. In the present sample we test for associations of childhood SES and adult SES (i.e. education, income, home ownership) with LTL, and examine whether these associations vary by racial/ethnic group. Analyses on 963 subjects (18.7% White, 53% Hispanics, and 28.5% African American) from the Stress ancillary study of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis revealed a significant difference in LTL between home owners and renters in Hispanic and White participants (p < .05), but not amongst African Americans (p = .98). There were no linear associations of adult education or family income with LTL, however, there was an inverse association between father’s education and LTL (p = .03). These findings suggest that for Whites and Hispanics renting vs. owning a home is associated with an older biological age; however we did not replicate previous findings linking education with LTL.
Telomere length; childhood SES; socioeconomic status; home ownership; wealth; parental education; cellular aging; biological aging; ethnicity
Shorter telomeres have been associated with poor health behaviors, age-related diseases, and early mortality. Telomere length is regulated by the enzyme telomerase, and is linked to exposure to proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. In our recent randomized controlled trial, omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation lowered the concentration of serum proinflammatory cytokines. This study assessed whether n-3 PUFA supplementation also affected leukocyte telomere length, telomerase, and oxidative stress. In addition to testing for group differences, changes in the continuous n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio were assessed to account for individual differences in adherence, absorption, and metabolism. The double-blind 4-month trial included 106 healthy sedentary overweight middle-aged and older adults who received (1) 2.5 g/day n-3 PUFAs, (2) l.25 g/day n-3 PUFAs, or (3) placebo capsules that mirrored the proportions of fatty acids in the typical American diet. Supplementation significantly lowered oxidative stress as measured by F2-isoprostanes (p=0.02). The estimated geometric mean log-F2-isoprostanes values were 15% lower in the two supplemented groups compared to placebo. Although group differences for telomerase and telomere length were nonsignificant, changes in the n-6:n-3 PUFA plasma ratios helped clarify the intervention’s impact: telomere length increased with decreasing n-6:n-3 ratios, p=0.02. The data suggest that lower n-6:n-3 PUFA ratios can impact cell aging. The triad of inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune cell aging represents important pre-disease mechanisms that may be ameliorated through nutritional interventions. This translational research broadens our understanding of the potential impact of the n-6:n-3 PUFA balance. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00385723
omega-3; omega-6; telomeres; inflammation; cell aging; nutritional neuroscience; oxidative stress; F2-isoprostanes; fish oil
The current study investigated if the Big 5 personality traits predicted interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in a national sample over the course of 5 years. In addition, interactions among the Big 5 were tested to provide a more accurate understanding of how personality traits may influence an inflammatory biomarker. Data included 1,054 participants in the Midlife Development in the U.S. (MIDUS) biomarkers subproject. The Big 5 personality traits were assessed in 2005-06 as part of the main MIDUS survey. Medication use, comorbid conditions, smoking behavior, alcohol use, body mass index, and serum levels of IL-6 were assessed in 2005-2009 as part of the biomarkers subproject. Linear regression analyses examined personality associations with IL-6. A significant Conscientiousness*Neuroticism interaction revealed that those high in both Conscientiousness and Neuroticism had lower circulating IL-6 levels than people with all other configurations of Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Adjustment for health behaviors diminished the magnitude of this association but did not eliminate it, suggesting that lower comorbid conditions and obesity may partly explain the lower inflammation of those high in both Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Our findings suggest, consistent with prior speculation, that average to higher levels of Neuroticism can in some cases be associated with health benefits—in this case when it is accompanied by high Conscientiousness. Using personality to identify those at risk may lead to greater personalization in the prevention and remediation of chronic inflammation.
Personality; interactions; inflammation; interleukin 6; IL-6; health behaviors
We tested whether daily exercise modulates immune and neuroimmune cytokines, hippocampus-dependent behavior and hippocampal neurogenesis in aging male F344 rats (18 mo upon arrival). Twelve weeks after conditioned running or control group assignment (n = 6 per group), the rats were trained and tested in a rapid water maze followed by an inhibitory avoidance task. The rats were BrdU-injected beginning 12 days after behavioral testing and killed 3 weeks later to quantify cytokines and neurogenesis. Daily exercise increased neurogenesis and improved immediate and 24 h water maze discrimination index (DI) scores and 24 h inhibitory avoidance retention latencies. Daily exercise decreased cortical VEGF, hippocampal IL-1β and serum MCP-1, GRO-KC and leptin levels but increased hippocampal GRO-KC and IL-18 concentrations. Serum leptin concentration correlated negatively with new neuron number and both DI scores while hippocampal IL-1β concentration correlated negatively with memory scores in both tasks. Cortical VEGF, serum GRO-KC and serum MCP-1 levels correlated negatively with immediate DI score and we found a novel positive correlation between hippocampal IL-18 and GRO-KC levels and new neuron number. Pathway analyses revealed distinct serum, hippocampal and cortical compartment cytokine relationships. Our results suggest that daily exercise potentially improves cognition in aging rats by modulating hippocampal neurogenesis and immune and neuroimmune cytokine signaling.
adult neurogenesis; hippocampus; running; cytokine; chemokine; biomarker; learning; memory; water maze; Fisher 344; Bio-Plex
Chronic mood disorders have been associated with a shortened telomere, a marker of increased mortality rate and ageing, and impaired cellular immunity. However, treatment may confound these relationships. We examined the relationship of glucose tolerance, white blood cell count and telomere length to depression in newly diagnosed, antidepressant-naïve patients. Subjects with major depression (n=15), and matched healthy control subjects (n=70) underwent a two-hour oral glucose tolerance test and evaluation of blood cell count and telomere content. The depression group had significantly higher two-hour glucose concentrations and a lower lymphocyte count than control subjects (respective means [SD] for two-hour glucose were 125.0 mg/dL [67.9] vs 84.6 [25.6] (p<.001); for lymphocyte count 2.1 × 109/L [0.6] vs. 2.5 ×109/L [0.7] p=.028).Telomere content was significantly shortened in the depression group (87.9 [7.6]) compared to control subjects (101.0 [14.3]; p<0.01). Abnormal glucose tolerance, lymphopenia and a shortened telomere are present early in the course of depression independently of the confounding effect of antidepressant treatment, supporting the concept of major depression as an accelerated ageing disease.
Major depressive disorder; Telomere; Diabetes mellitus; Immunosenescence; Lymphopenia; Glucose tolerance; Accelerated ageing; Drug-naïve
Surgery can suppress in vivo levels of NK cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) through various mechanisms, including catecholamine-, glucocorticoid (CORT)-, and prostaglandin (PG)-mediated responses. However, PGs are synthesized locally following tissue damage, driving proinflammatory and CORT responses, while their systemic levels are often unaffected. Thus, we herein studied the role of adrenal factors in mediating in vivo effects of PGs on NKCC, using adrenalectomized and sham-operated F344 rats subjected to surgery or PGE2 administration. In vivo and ex-vivo approaches were employed, based on intravenous administration of the NK-sensitive MADB106 tumor line, and based on ex-vivo assessment of YAC-1 and MADB106 target-line lysis. Additionally, in vitro studies assessed the kinetics of the impact of epinephrine, CORT, and PGE2 on NKCC. The results indicated that suppression of NKCC by epinephrine and PGE2 are short lasting, and cannot be evident when these compounds are removed from the in vitro assay milieu, or in the context of ex-vivo assessment of NKCC. In contrast, the effects of CORT are long-lasting and are reflected in both conditions even after its removal. Marginating-pulmonary NKCC was less susceptible to suppression than circulating NKCC, when tested against the xenogeneic YAC-1 target line, but not against the syngeneic MADB106 line, which seems to involve different cytotoxicity mechanisms. Overall, these findings indicate that elevated systemic PG levels can directly suppress NKCC in vivo, but following laparotomy adrenal hormones mediate most of the effects of endogenously-released PGs. Additionally, the ex-vivo approach seems limited in reflecting the short-lasting NK-suppressive effects of catecholamines and PGs.
prostaglandins; glucocorticoids; catecholamines; surgery; in vivo; in vitro; ex-vivo; NK activity
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMPs) are critical for tissue remodeling during wound repair. Psychological stress has been found to impair wound healing in humans and animals. The objective of this study was to assess MMP and TIMP gene expression during stress-impaired healing. Female SKH-1 mice (n = 299) were divided into control and stress groups (13 h restraint/day for 3 days prior to and 5 days post-wounding). Two 3.5 mm cutaneous full-thickness wounds were placed on the dorsum of each mouse and wound measurements were performed daily. RTPCR for gene expression of MMP-2, MMP-8, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 was performed at days 1, 3 and 5. Immunohistochemical analyses of the healed wounds were performed at days 15 and 28. As expected, wounds healed more slowly in restraint-stressed mice compared to controls. Stressed mice exhibited MMP-8 overexpression and lower TIMP-1 levels during healing, and poorer collagen organization once healed. MMP-8 overexpression may have stemmed from a higher level of neutrophils, observed in wound tissue on days 3 and 5. These findings implicate higher neutrophil numbers, MMP-8 overexpression, and TIMP-1 under-expression, as mechanisms that may compromise wound outcomes such as scarring under conditions of stress.
Wound healing; Psychological stress; Mifepristone; RU486; Collagen; MMP; TIMP; Remodeling; Scarring
Previous studies reported that stress delays wound healing, impairs bacterial clearance, and elevates the risk for opportunistic infection. Neutrophils and macrophages are responsible for the removal of bacteria present at the wound site. The appropriate recruitment and functions of these cells are necessary for efficient bacterial clearance. In our current study we found that restraint stress induced an excessive recruitment of neutrophils extending the inflammatory phase of healing, and the gene expression of neutrophil attracting chemokines MIP-2 and KC. However, restraint stress did not affect macrophage infiltration. Stress decreased the phagocytic abilities of phagocytic cells ex vivo, yet it did not affect superoxide production. The cell surface expression of adhesion molecules CD11b and TLR4 were decreased in peripheral blood monocytes in stressed mice. The phenotype of macrophages present at the wound site was also altered. Gene expression of markers of pro-inflammatory classically activated macrophages, CXCL10 and CCL5, were down-regulated; as were markers associated with wound healing macrophages, CCL22, IGF-1, RELMα; and the regulatory macrophage marker, chemokine CCL1. Restraint stress also induced up-regulation of IL10 gene expression. In summary, our study has shown that restraint stress suppresses the phenotype shift of the macrophage population, as compared to the changes observed during normal wound healing, while the number of macrophages remains constant. We also observed a general suppression of chemokine gene expression. Modulation of the macrophage phenotype could provide a new therapeutic approach in the treatment of wounds under stress conditions in the clinical setting.
Restraint stress; Wound healing; Neutrophil; Chemokine; Phagocytosis; Macrophage activation
Psychological stress is a major provocative factor of symptoms in chronic inflammatory conditions. In recent years, interest in addressing stress responsivity through meditation training in health-related domains has increased astoundingly, despite a paucity of evidence that reported benefits are specific to meditation practice. We designed the present study to rigorously compare an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) intervention to a well-matched active control intervention, the Health Enhancement Program (HEP) in ability to reduce psychological stress and experimentally-induced inflammation. The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) was used to induce psychological stress and inflammation was produced using topical application of capsaicin cream to forearm skin. Immune and endocrine measures of inflammation and stress were collected both before and after MBSR training. Results show those randomized to MBSR and HEP training had comparable post-training stress-evoked cortisol responses, as well as equivalent reductions in self-reported psychological distress and physical symptoms. However, MBSR training resulted in a significantly smaller post-stress inflammatory response compared to HEP, despite equivalent levels of stress hormones. These results suggest behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity may be of therapeutic benefit in chronic inflammatory conditions. Moreover, mindfulness practice, in particular, may be more efficacious in symptom relief than the well-being promoting activities cultivated in the HEP program.
Before the 1990s it was widely believed that the adult brain was incapable of regenerating neurons. However, it is now established that new neurons are continuously produced in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and olfactory bulb throughout life. The functional significance of adult neurogenesis is still unclear, but it is widely believed that the new neurons contribute to learning and memory and/or maintenance of brain regions by replacing dead or dying cells. Many different factors are known to regulate adult neurogenesis including immune responses and signaling molecules released by immune cells in the brain. While immune activation (i.e., enlargement of microglia, release of cytokines) within the brain is commonly viewed as a harmful event, the impact of immune activation on neural function is highly dependent on the form of the immune response as microglia and other immune-reactive cells in the brain can support or disrupt brain function depending on the phenotype and behavior of the cells. For instance, microglia that express an inflammatory phenotype generally reduce cell proliferation, survival and function of new neurons whereas microglia displaying an alternative protective phenotype support adult neurogenesis. The present review summarizes current understanding of the role of new neurons in cognition and behavior, with an emphasis on the immune system’s ability to influence adult hippocampal neurogenesis during both an inflammatory episode and in the healthy uninjured brain. It has been proposed that some of the cognitive deficits associated with inflammation may in part be related to inflammation-induced reductions in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Elucidating how the immune system contributes to the regulation of adult neurogenesis will help in predicting the impact of immune activation on neural plasticity and potentially facilitate the discovery of treatments to preserve neurogenesis in conditions characterized by chronic inflammation.
microglia; stem cells; cytokines; adult neurogenesis; cognitive performance; hippocampus
Neuroinflammatory mechanisms are associated with fatigue in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s. The symptoms in Parkinson’s including fatigue are thought to be related to α-synuclein overexpression. This study investigated genomic correlates of fatigue experienced by men with prostate cancer receiving external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).
Patients and Methods
Sixteen men with non-metastatic prostate cancer who were scheduled to receive EBRT were enrolled. Fatigue scores and blood were obtained at baseline (prior to EBRT, D0); one hour following initiation of EBRT (D1), day 7 (D7), day 14 (D14), midpoint (days 19–21, D21), completion (days 38–42, D42), and four weeks post EBRT (days 68–72, D72). Gene expression profiling using microarray analysis was performed from whole blood and confirmatory qPCR and protein (ELISA) analyses verified the microarray results. Correlations between fatigue and gene/protein expressions were determined using a mixed model approach.
Microarray data showed significant, differential expression of 463 probesets following EBRT. SNCA had a 2.95 fold change at D21 from baseline. SNCA expression was confirmed by qPCR (p < 0.001) and ELISA (p < 0.001) over time during EBRT. Fatigue scores were significantly correlated with SNCA gene expression on D14 (r = 0.55, p < 0.05) and plasma α-synuclein concentrations on D42 of EBRT (r = 0.54, p = 0.04).
Fatigue experienced during EBRT may be mediated by α-synuclein overexpression. Alpha-synuclein may serve as a useful biomarker to understand the mechanisms and pathways related to the development of fatigue in this population.
Elevated blood pressure (BP) and infiltration of the vasculature by monocytes contribute to vascular pathology; but, monocyte migratory characteristics based on differing inflammatory potential under adrenergic activation remains unclear. We compared nonclassical (CD14+CD16++; HLA-DR+), intermediate (CD14++CD16+; HLA-DR++), and classical (CD14++CD16−; HLA-DR+/−) monocyte trafficking and their LPS-stimulated TNF production in response to a physical stressor (20-min treadmill exercise at 65-70% VO2peak) in participants with high prehypertension (PHT), mild PHT or normal BP (NBP). To determine adrenergic receptor (AR) sensitivity, pre-exercise cells were also treated with isoproterenol (Iso). When cells were stimulated with LPS, the CD16 molecules were downregulated, and monocytes subsets were differentiated based on HLA-DR expression. Monocyte subpopulations (as % of total monocytes) and intracellular TNF production were evaluated by flow cytometry. TNF production in all subsets decreased post-exercise and with ex-vivo incubation with Iso, irrespective of BP (p < .001), with nonclassical and intermediate monocytes being a major source of TNF production. Overall, % nonclassical monocytes increased, % intermediate did not change, whereas % classical decreased post-exercise (p < .001). However, % increase in nonclassical monocytes under exercise-induced adrenergic activation was blunted in high PHT individuals (p < .05), but not in individuals with mild PHT and NBP. These findings extend our previous reports by showing that the mobilization of proinflammatory monocytes under physical stress is attenuated with even mild BP elevation. This may be indicative of monocytic AR desensitization and/or greater adhesion of “proinflammatory” monocytes to the vascular endothelium in hypertension with potential clinical implications of vascular pathology.
CD16+ monocytes; LPS-stimulated TNF production; Mobilization; Monocyte subsets; Prehypertension; Sympathoadrenergic activation; Treadmill exercise
There is considerable evidence that stressful early life events influence a variety of physical health problems later in life. Childhood adversity has been linked to elevated rates of morbidity and mortality from a number of chronic diseases. Immune dysregulation may be one potential pathway that explains this link. In this mini-review, we summarize human studies demonstrating that severe early life stressors have lasting immune consequences. We propose a model outlining potential biobehavioral pathways that explain how early life stressors leave people vulnerable to these maladaptive outcomes. Finally, we suggest ideas for future work to test different aspects of this model.
We have developed a low dose Mindfulness Based Intervention (MBI-ld) that reduces the time committed to meetings and formal mindfulness practice, while conducting the sessions during the workday. This reduced the barriers commonly mentioned for non-participation in mindfulness programs. In a controlled randomized trial we studied university faculty and staff (n=186) who were found to have an elevated CRP level, >3.0 mg/ml, and who either had, or were at risk for cardiovascular disease. This study was designed to evaluate if MBI-ld could produce a greater decrease in CRP, IL-6 and cortisol than an active control group receiving a lifestyle education program when measured at the end of the 2 month interventions. We found that MBI-ld significantly enhanced mindfulness by 2-months and it was maintained for up to a year when compared to the education control. No significant changes were noted between interventions in cortisol, IL-6 levels or self-reported measures of perceived stress, depression and sleep quality at 2-months. Although not statistically significant (p=.08), the CRP level at 2-months was one mg/ml lower in the MBI-ld group than in the education control group, a change which may have clinical significance (Ridker et al., 2000, Wassel et al., 2010). A larger MBI-ld effect on CRP (as compared to control) occurred among participants who had a baseline BMI<30 (−2.67 mg/ml) than for those with BMI>30 (−0.18mg/ml). We conclude that MBI-ld should be more fully investigated as a low-cost self-directed complementary strategy for decreasing inflammation, and it seems most promising for non-obese subjects.
mindfulness; CRP; IL-6; cortisol; intervention; randomized-trial; inflammation
Morbidity and mortality are greater among socially disadvantaged racial/ethnic groups and those of lower socioeconomic status (SES). Greater chronic stress exposure in disadvantaged groups may contribute to this by accelerating cellular aging, indexed by shorter age-adjusted telomere length. While studies consistently relate shorter leukocyte telomere length (LTL) to stress, the few studies, mostly from the UK, examining associations of LTL with SES have been mixed. The current study examined associations between educational attainment and LTL among 2,599 high-functioning black and white adults age 70-79 from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Multiple regression analyses tested associations of race/ethnicity, educational attainment and income with LTL, adjusting for potential confounders. Those with only a high school education had significantly shorter mean LTL (4806 basepairs) than those with post-high school education (4926 basepairs; B=125, SE= 47.6, p = .009). A significant interaction of race and education (B = 207.8, SE = 98.7, p = .035) revealed more beneficial effects of post-high school education for blacks than for whites. Smokers had shorter LTL than non-smokers, but the association of education and LTL remained significant when smoking was covaried (B = 119.7, SE = 47.6, p = .012). While higher income was associated with longer LTL, the effect was not significant (p > .10). This study provides the first demonstration of an association between educational attainment and LTL in a US population where higher education appears to have a protective effect against telomere shortening, particularly in blacks.
Socioeconomic status; education; telomere length; race; health disparities
Adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes are linked to perinatal production of inflammatory mediators, including interleukin 6 (IL-6). While a pivotal role for maternal elevation in IL-6 has been established in determining neurobehavioral outcomes in the offspring and considered the primary target mediating the fetal inflammatory response, questions remain as to the specific actions of IL-6 on the developing brain. CD-1 male mice received a subdural injection of the bioactive fusion protein, hyper IL-6 (HIL-6) on postnatal-day (PND)4 and assessed from preweaning until adulthood. Immunohistochemical evaluation of astrocytes and microglia and mRNA levels for pro-inflammatory cytokines and host response genes indicated no evidence of an acute neuroinflammatory injury response. HIL-6 accelerated motor development and increased reactivity to stimulation and number of entries in a light/dark chamber, decreased ability to learn to withhold a response in passive avoidance, and effected deficits in social novelty behavior. No changes were observed in motor activity, pre-pulse startle inhibition, or learning and memory in the Morris water maze or radial arm maze, as have been reported for models of more severe developmental neuroinflammation. In young animals, mRNA levels for MBP and PLP/DM20 decreased and less complexity of MBP processes in the cortex was evident by immunohistochemistry. The non-hydroxy cerebroside fraction of cerebral lipids was increased. These results provide evidence for selective effects of IL-6 signaling, particularly trans-signaling, in the developing brain in the absence of a general neuroinflammatory response. These data contribute to our further understanding of the multiple aspects of IL-6 signaling in the developing brain.
Interleukin-6; IL-6R; developmental neurotoxicity; learning; social behavior; neuroinflammation; oligodendroglia; myelin; postnatal inflammation
Chemotherapy has been known to cause severe side effects, including fatigue. While the mechanisms for chemotherapy induced fatigue (CIF) are likely to be multi-factorial in origin, it is thought that inflammation and anemia may play a role. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of chemotherapy on fatigue in mice, and further, to begin to determine if inflammation and anemia may contribute to this response. For experiment 1, C57BL/6 mice were assigned to: vehicle (PBS), low (20 mg/kg), medium (40 mg/kg), or high (60 mg/kg) doses of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Voluntary physical activity (PA) was measured throughout the treatment period (day 1–5) as well as during the recovery period (day 6–14). In experiment 2, we examined the effects of 5-FU (60 mg/kg) on the inflammatory mediator MCP-1 and on markers of anemia (RBC, Hct and Hb). Finally, using MCP-1−/− mice we examined the role of MCP-1 on CIF (experiment 3). 5-FU reduced voluntary PA in a dose response manner (p < 0.05). Plasma MCP-1 was increased following 5-FU treatment on both days 5 (p = 0.10) and 14 (p < 0.05). In addition, RBCs, Hct and Hb were reduced with 5-FU on days 5 and 14 (p < 0.05). Both C57BL/6 and MCP-1−/− mice saw similar decrements in PA through the duration of the treatment period (days 1–5), however the MCP-1−/− mice recovered much earlier than wildtype mice. This study provides evidence of the dose response effect of a standard chemotherapy agent on fatigue and demonstrates a potential role of MCP-1 and presumably inflammation, and anemia.
Cancer; Inflammation; MCP-1; Fatigue; Chemotherapy
Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been associated with reduced leukocyte telomere length (LTL). It is not known, however, whether psychosocial and behavioral protective factors moderate this association. In the current study, we examine whether multisystem resiliency – defined by healthy emotion regulation, strong social connections, and health behaviors (sleep and exercise) – predicts LTL and mitigates previously demonstrated associations between depression diagnosis and LTL. LTL was measured, using a quantitative PCR assay, in 954 patients with stable cardiovascular disease in the Heart and Soul Study. In a fully adjusted model, high multisystem resiliency predicted longer LTL (b = 80.00, SE = 27.17, p = .003), whereas each individual factor did not. Multisystem resiliency significantly moderated the MDD-LTL association (p = .02). Specifically, MDD was significantly related to LTL at 1 SD below the mean of multisystem resiliency (b = −142.86, SE = 56.46, p = .01), but not at 1 SD above the mean (b = 49.07, SE = 74.51, p = .51). This study suggests that MDD associations with biological outcomes should be examined within a psychosocial–behavioral context, because this context shapes the nature of the direct relationship. Further research should explore the cognitive, neural, and other physiological pathways through which multisystem resiliency may confer biological benefit.
Major depressive disorder; Telomeres; Cell aging; Resiliency; Social connections; Emotion regulation; Physical activity
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common sleep disorder in which urges to move the legs are felt during rest, are felt at night, and are improved by leg movement. RLS has been implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. Periodic leg movements (PLMs) may be a mediator of this relationship. We evaluated systemic inflammation and PLMs in RLS patients to further assess cardiovascular risk.
137 RLS patients had PLM measurements taken while unmedicated for RLS. Banked plasma was assayed for high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha).
Mean (SD) PLM index was 19.3 (22.0). PLMs were unrelated to TNF-a and IL-6, but were modestly correlated with log CRP (r(129) = 0.19, p = 0.03). Those patients with at least 45 PLMs/hour had an odds ratio of 3.56 (95% CI 1.26 to 10.03, p = 0.02, df = 1) for having elevated CRP compared to those with fewer than 45 PLMs/hour. After adjustment for age, race, gender, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, inflammatory disorders, CRP-lowering medications, and body mass index, the OR for those with ≥ 45 PLMs/hour was 8.60 (95% CI 1.23 to 60.17, p = 0.03, df = 10).
PLMs are associated with increased inflammation, such that those RLS patients with at least 45 PLMs/hour had more than triple the odds of elevated CRP than those with fewer PLMs. Further investigation into PLMs and inflammation is warranted.
C-reactive protein; periodic leg movements of sleep; restless legs syndrome; interleukin-6; tumor necrosis factor alpha; cardiovascular disease
Natural killer (NK) cells are specialized innate lymphocytes important in the early defense against tumor and virus bearing cells. Many factors influence the immune system’s effectiveness against pathogens, including stress. Social disruption (SDR) “primes” macrophages/monocytes and dendritic cells thereby enhancing their antimicrobial function. What remains unclear is whether similar responses are evident in NK cells. Current studies investigated the cellular distribution and activation/inhibitory phenotypes of NK cells in the spleen, lung, and blood of C57BL/6 male mice following SDR. Furthermore, cytolytic activity and anti-viral cytokine production of splenic NK cells were determined. Lastly, β-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) signaling was investigated to determine possible mechanisms behind the SDR-induced NK cell alterations. Results indicated NK cells from SDR mice have increased expression of CD16 and CD69 and reduced NKG2a and Ly49a expression on splenic CD3-/DX5+ NK cells indicative of an activated phenotype, both immediately and 14hrs post-SDR. Administration of propranolol (10mg/kg; non-selective β-adrenergic receptor antagonist) was shown to block these “priming” effects at the 14hr time-point. In the lung, SDR had similar effects on activation and inhibitory receptors 14hr post-SDR, however no alterations were evident in the blood besides increased NK cells directly after SDR. Additionally, splenic NK cells from SDR mice had increased CD107a surface expression, cytolytic activity, and IFN-γ production was increased upon costimulation with IgG and IL-2 ex vivo. Collectively, these data suggest that social stress “primes” NK cells in the spleen and lung to be more proficient in their cytolytic and antiviral/tumor effecter functions through β-adrenergic receptor dependent signaling.
NK cells; Inhibitory; Activation; Degranulation; Social Disruption; Stress; Interferon Gamma
Adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth, are markedly higher among African-Americans versus Whites. Stress-induced immune dysregulation may contribute to these effects. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation provides a robust model for examining cellular immune competence. This study examined associations of EBV virus capsid antigen immunoglobulin G (VCA IgG) with gestational stage, race, and racial discrimination in women during pregnancy and postpartum.
Fifty-six women (38 African-American, 18 White) were included. African-Americans and Whites did not differ in age, education, income, parity, or body mass index (ps ≥.51). During the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester and ~5 weeks postpartum, women completed measures of racial discrimination, perceived stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and health behaviors. EBV VCA IgG antibody titers were measured via ELISA in serum collected at each visit.
In the overall sample, EBV VCA IgG antibody titers were lower in the 3rd versus 1st trimester (p=.002). At every timepoint (1st, 2nd, 3rd trimester and postpartum), African-American women exhibited higher serum EBV VCA IgG antibody titers than Whites (ps<.001). This effect was most pronounced among African-Americans reporting greater racial discrimination [p=.03 (1st), .04 (2nd), .12 (3rd), .06 (postpartum)]. Associations of race and racial discrimination with EBV VCA IgG antibody titers were not accounted for by other measures of stress or health behaviors.
Compared to Whites, African-American women showed higher EBV VCA IgG antibody titers, indicative of impaired cellular immune competence, across pregnancy and postpartum. This effect was particularly pronounced among African-American women reporting greater racial discrimination, supporting a role for chronic stress in this association. In women overall, EBV antibody titers declined during late as compared to early pregnancy. This may be due to pregnancy-related changes in cell-mediated immune function, humoral immune function, and/or antibody transfer to the fetus in late gestation. As a possible marker of stress-induced immune dysregulation during pregnancy, the role of EBV reactivation in racial disparities in perinatal health warrants further attention.
Epstein-Barr virus; EBV; race; immune function; preterm birth; psychosocial stress; racial disparities; pregnancy; perinatal health; immunity; postpartum; herpesviruses; reactivation; racial discrimination; stress
Opioids, such as morphine, induce potent analgesia and are the gold standard for the treatment of acute pain. However, opioids also activate glia, inducing pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine production, which counter-regulates the analgesic properties of classical opioid receptor activation. It is not known how long these adverse pro-inflammatory effects last or whether prior morphine could sensitize the central nervous system (CNS) such that responses to a subsequent injury/inflammation would be exacerbated. Here, multiple models of inflammation or injury were induced 2 d after morphine (5 mg/kg b.i.d., 5 d, s.c.) to test the generality of morphine sensitization of later pain. Prior repeated morphine potentiated the duration of allodynia from peripheral inflammatory challenges (complete Freund’s adjuvant [CFA] into either hind paw skin or masseter muscle) and from peripheral neuropathy (mild chronic constriction injury [CCI] of the sciatic nerve). Spinal cord and trigeminal nucleus caudalis mRNAs were analyzed to identify whether repeated morphine was sufficient to alter CNS expression of pro-inflammatory response genes, measured 2 d after cessation of treatment. Prior morphine elevated IL-1β mRNA at both sites, MHCII and TLR4 in the trigeminal nucleus caudalis but not spinal cord, but not glial activation markers at either site. Finally, in order to identify whether morphine sensitized proinflammatory cytokine release, spinal cord was isolated 2 d after morphine dosing for 5 day, and slices stimulated ex vivo with lipopolysaccharide. The morphine significantly induced TNFα protein release. Therefore, repeated morphine is able to sensitize subsequent CNS responses to immune challenges.
opioid; pain; pro-inflammatory cytokine; priming; glia; chronic constriction injury; interleukin-1beta; MHC-II; toll-like receptor 4; priming
Fatigue is a common and distressing side effect of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer. The goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between changes in fatigue following initiation of ADT and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in three pro-inflammatory cytokine genes: interleukin-1 beta (IL1B), interleukin-6 (IL6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFA).
As part of a larger study, men with prostate cancer (n=53) were recruited prior to initiation of ADT. Fatigue was assessed at recruitment and six months after initiation of ADT. DNA was extracted from blood drawn at baseline.
Patients with the IL6-174 (rs1800795) G/C or C/C genotype displayed greater increases in fatigue intrusiveness, frequency, and duration than the G/G genotype (p values≤0.05), although inclusion of age, race, and baseline depressive symptomatology in the model attenuated these relationships (p values≤0.09). Patients with the TNFA-308 (rs1800629) G/A genotype showed greater increases in fatigue severity than the G/G genotype (p=0.02). IL1B-511 (rs16944) genotype did not significantly predict changes in fatigue (p values>0.46). Patients with higher numbers of variants displayed greater increases in fatigue duration and interference (p values≤0.02) than patients with lower numbers of variants.
Prostate cancer patients treated with ADT who carry variant alleles of the IL6 and TNFA genes are susceptible to heightened fatigue. These preliminary data lend support for the role of genetic variation in the development of cancer-related fatigue secondary to ADT. Findings are relevant to attempts to develop personalized approaches to cancer treatment.
prostatic neoplasms; fatigue; polymorphism; single nucleotide